I woke up, aware something was different. Tucked into my perfectly warm, just right bed, I cracked open one eye. So much light seeped in around the edges of the dark blue curtains. I reasoned that it still should be pitch black outside, especially given I didn’t feel particularly rested.
The light outside confused me even more as I glanced at my Fitbit, which said it was 6:20 a.m., Sunday, November 5. Sunrise shouldn’t happen until 7:something a.m., right?
A flashing RED ALERT sign clicked on in my brain. I thought, "Something must be terribly wrong that my backyard is lit up at this early hour!" As any law-abiding, logical citizen would do, I predicted that the police were outside my window aiming a line of powerful floodlights at my house. Wearing riot gear, of course, they would be searching our yard, and the adjoining public greenbelt, for some perpetrator of violence and mayhem.
Without regard to personal comfort or safety, I climbed out of bed and pushed open the curtains. My prediction of police action proved false. No living being disturbed the early morning peace. I looked up through the trees to the east and found the source of the light: a most gorgeous crimson sunrise.
I felt a bit sheepish as it dawned on me (ha) why it was so light right then: daylight savings time had ended a few hours earlier. We had fallen back an hour and I forgot that Fitbit is clever enough to reset itself without my help.
I watched the clouds morph into glorious shades of vermillion and salmon and puzzled over why I would think the police were in my backyard. Why didn’t I predict the light would come from something more natural and benign? Like, say, a sunrise?
The idea wasn’t triggered by a guilty conscious. Everything about Chez Kramer is totally, one hundred percent legit. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie. But if you’re under indictment, it would be better for you to pretend you don’t know me. (Just Kidding) (ROFLACGU)
I suspect that my initial reaction to the hidden light source stemmed from a helicopter with a searchlight that flew back and forth over our house one night last summer. Another, undoubtedly more important factor involves my steady diet of mysteries. I watch them non-stop on TV in the evenings, then switch to reading them right before I fall asleep.
Cause and effect? Coincidence? Who knows? But it wouldn’t kill me to do something calming and uplifting before falling asleep, like centering prayer or meditation.
Speaking of uplift, that afternoon, the sky put on another fabulous show for my family and me. We had gathered for lunch and afterward, ventured out to the backyard since it wasn’t a crime scene. Brown leaves still crowded the branches of the tall trees. The breeze was gentle, the psithurism heavenly, the conversation lively.
“Guys! Look at the leaves!” My 20-year-old granddaughter marveled. She pointed towards our neighbor’s giant cottonwood tree to the north. Waves of hundreds of leaves gracefully tumbled high above the lawn, spinning relentlessly towards us.
“It’s a leaf storm!” her six-year-old cousin shouted as the leaves twisted in the air. Some gently tapped us on the head or arm as they fell gracefully to earth.
“It’s like the tree is throwing sparkly confetti on us!” my daughter-in-law agreed, laughing.
She could not have been more right. The dry leaves had long ago lost their verdant summer sheen and glowing autumnal colors. Yet, each one glittered as it twisted in the breeze, briefly catching the sunlight just so in a brilliant flash.
I want to remember this day forever. First, a spectacular sunrise at the end of DST. Then, the surprise party of a dazzling leaf storm. A poet could have a field day with this amazing Sunday. I just have a full heart.
If you'd like to hear psithurism, watch this lovely video of the leaf storm, created by my daughter-in-law, Katie Kramer.